Courier Talks: Property

House of Killik Soho | Tuesday 23rd January 2018

House of Killik Soho is a seven-day series of inspiring conversations and workshops. From discussions about modern business and the challenges of ever-evolving marketplaces with founders and business leaders, to urban gardening workshops and wellness sessions. A week-long event to inspire you to identify the life you want to lead.

Is ‘PropTech’ the new FinTech?

For the second evening of House of Killik Soho, Courier Magazine joined us to host a talk on innovation in the property market. Jeff Taylor, co-founder of Courier chaired the panel which included Albert Hill, founder of The Modern House, Dan Hegarty founder of Habito, and Lee Layton from Cushman & Wakefield sat on the events panel.

“There is a pattern emerging with the democratisation of all financial services and we’re yet to really see that when it comes to property and mortgages” says Dan of online mortgage broker, Habito.

“This market has been resistant to change for a number of years” agrees Lee “it’s not that we haven’t seen innovation, just look at Rightmove or Zoopla, but it’s definitely slowed down over the past couple of years”

“Traditional estate agents have been focussed on the transaction, they treated houses like investments, or tins of beans. They ignored the beauty in people’s homes”

“Traditional estate agents have been focussed on the transaction, they treated houses like investments, or tins of beans. They ignored the beauty in people’s homes” says Albert. “That’s where I think we will see the most innovation.”

“Is Blockchain the magic bullet that will save this thing? It certainly looks that way, yes. But whether that level of liquidity in the market is a good thing, I really don’t know.” says Lee.

No matter where they see the most innovation coming from, they all agree that the sector is ripe for a rethink. Whether that comes from so called ‘prop-tech’ firms such as Habito, or from improvements to the algorithms behind things like the ‘Automated Valuation Model’ (AVM) that some believe the whole market will someday revolve around.

“I think no matter what we’ll see increased decentralisation like the American model” insists Lee, “more individuals, just backed by these larger corporations.”

They still see the need for a human in this process however, which will come as good news to some. Dan explains that when they first launched Habito, they thought that people would prefer to do away with human interaction all together, but found it simply didn’t work “People like to know there is a real person available” he says. “After all, buying a house is always going to be one of biggest, most stressful and tense moment in your life.”

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